Sen. Todd Young: Endless Frontier Act a Blueprint for Reaching Infrastructure Deal Sen. Todd Young, R-Iind., questions Xavier Becerra, nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Capitol Hill Feb. 24, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Tuesday, 22 June 2021 09:32 AM
Sen. Todd Young, one of the lawmakers working on a yet-to-be-released bipartisan infrastructure plan, said Tuesday that there is a blueprint about reaching agreement on significant legislation, as shown in the recent Endless Frontier Act.
"If there's one issue that clearly unifies Republicans and Democrats and everyone in between, it's the need to crack down on China's predatory economic practices," the Indiana Republican said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "They've been stealing our intellectual property and dumping goods into this country and that hurts rank and file Americans … it required a year and a half of staff work, of consultation, of trust-building, but we got it done, and 68-32, it passed out of the Senate."
It will also take presidential leadership to reach a deal on infrastructure, said Young. President Joe Biden opted to remain silent during the discussions for the Endless Frontier Act, "which was helpful," he added, but he will need to "lean into" the bipartisan infrastructure package to make it happen.
"He needs to bless it and he needs to encourage fellow Democrats to support it," said Young. "If he does that, I believe it's going to pass in both the House and the Senate. The American people will have their infrastructure without an increase in taxes."
Young compared the measure on China to the legislation passed during and after the Cold War and after the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1 in 1957, shocking the world and beginning the space race.
"We stood up NASA …we established and invested in a highway system, interstate highway system through President (Dwight D.) Eisenhower and bipartisan leadership," said Young. "We got things done, ultimately defeating the Soviet Union. So I think that's a model we can harness. We should not let our many principle disagreements — and they exist — obscure our many areas of agreement."
With the infrastructure legislation debates continuing, Young, who was a U.S. Marine, acknowledged there is a time to fight, but "you lose credibility if all you do is brawl. You have to provide those opportunities, and there are many, to help one another get a bill done that serves all our constituents. Infrastructure is a great issue."
Young said the group of lawmakers, which he called the "G-20," working on the bipartisan bill is identifying ways to pay for infrastructure through repurposing unused COVID-19 relief bill funds, invoking public-private partnerships and more, and "we figured out how to add it all up to $1 trillion and pay for this thing without increasing taxes We can have the tax conversation later if others want to. But we don't believe you have to pay for our central core infrastructure by raising taxes."
He added that the United States must invest what is necessary to grow its economy at a more rapid rate.
"The way I think about our national debt is if someone buys a $10 million house, and they tell you that, in the abstract, it's very difficult to decide if that's a responsible or irresponsible investment until you know what their assets are and their annual income is and so forth," said Young. "If we can grow our economy at a more rapid rate by making targeted investments like a workforce development … then we grow the economy at a more rapid rate."
Meanwhile, Young said lawmakers are "four-fifths of the way there" on the infrastructure bill and bipartisanship.
"It takes development of trust over a period of time," he said. "We've done that with the so-called G-20 group. It takes a willingness to compromise. We've done that. None of us think this is a perfect framework but we like where we've ended up."